Sadaqat Ghorzan, a freelance journalist on assignment with TOLOnews, was beaten with rifles on his head and arms by Taliban border forces near Torkham gate, a major crossing between Pakistan and Afghanistan. Ghorzan was covering Afghans’ attempts to flee to Pakistan.
Although Ghorzan reached the border with official permission to report from the Taliban, upon arrival Taliban forces seized and destroyed his camera and mobile phone. “I reached the Torkham crossing after having talk with the commissioner along with his body guard, but I was attacked all of sudden even without giving any reasons,” Ghorzan said.
The Thorkam border was reopened on October 21 for travelers with visas following a visit by Pakistan foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees estimate over half a million Afghans will flee across border by the end of year as economic and humanitarian crises unfold under the Taliban's rule.
Ghorzan’s attack was widely criticized by the journalists’ fraternity. TOLOnews head Khpolwak Sapai opined that if cases like Ghorzan’s are ignored, working journalists across Afghanistan will suffer and urged that the incident be investigated.
Journalists have been increasingly targeted following the Taliban’s take-over in mid-August, with over 70% of Afghan journalists having received threats according to a study by Afghanistan National Journalists Union (ANJU). On October 21, Taliban militants attacked at least three journalists covering a women’s protest rally in Kabul. In a separate incident on September 7 and 8, Taliban militants arrested more than 14 media workers covering anti-Pakistan and women’s protests in Kabul.
The IFJ said: “The recent attacks against media persons and journalists are against the Taliban’s commitment to preserve independent media and freedom of expression. The IFJ call on the Taliban to uphold press freedom and to cease their persecution of members of the press.”